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Success Stories

This section provides the chance to read about real individuals and their unique journey in how the GEM Project has helped them to move closer towards employment.


Gloucester | GDA

Andy was unemployed for a long time, even though he had been looking for work for years. He went through many job programmes and employability courses but none of these options seemed to work for him.

After joining the GEM Project and meeting with his Navigator Developer Reg at Gloucestershire Deaf Association, they put a plan together to help Andy find work again.

I’d previously been pushed towards roles in the security industry, particularly door supervision. I never saw myself as a Door Supervisor and would never feel comfortable in this role due to my social anxiety issues and hearing impairment. Reg actually listened to what I wanted to do and focussed on this. I have a keen interest in IT, so he suggested possible roles in CCTV.”

The GEM Project funded Andy to complete his CCTV licence and training and Reg got in touch with Glevum Security to see if there were any suitable positions for Andy. After an initial interview and assessment to understand what Andy could hear due to the company’s alert driven CCTV system, Andy completed a work trial training shift and is now employed part time at the company.

“The GEM Project is the first programme that has actually got me a job. GEM is personal and tailored to you. Reg didn’t have to do everything he did, yet he went over and above as he wanted to help. People at GEM actually care about you. It now means that I’m also managing my social anxiety better and have even surprised myself, especially with answering the phone when I’m at work.”


Cheltenham | CCP

Over the last seven years Adrian has struggled with his mental health and as a result had become socially isolated. After working with his Mental Health Nurse and the Community Wellbeing Service at CCP, Adrian was referred to the GEM Project.

“Before the GEM Project I had no confidence and wouldn’t leave the house. I didn’t even open my post which led to me getting into debt and arrears which also didn’t help me.”

Adrian was keen to get back into work and through the GEM Project put together an action plan to achieve this, initially focusing on voluntary positions to work up towards securing a full-time role. Although his previous background was working at a multinational company in a senior managerial position, he was aware that technology had since moved on so was keen to enhance his skillset again. He completed various courses including a BTEC Diploma Level 2 in IT Skills which also helped to regain his confidence.

Whilst volunteering at CCP, a part-time admin post came up in which Adrian applied for and got the job. After working there for a while, a full-time position within the company was advertised and after applying for the role, Adrian is now a valued member of the CCP Finance Team.

“I chose to volunteer at CCP as they helped me, so I wanted to give a little bit back.  It has now led to a full-time role and I have achieved my whole plan. I would definitely recommend the GEM Project – I’ve come such a long way!”


Gloucester | Forwards

GEM participant Megan shares her GEM journey and how she has now set up her own business to support other organisations in becoming more accessible. 
"My name is Megan and I've been blind since birth. I have a degree in Creative Writing and, after graduating from my Masters in the same field last year, I was struggling to find work due to the complex formatting of job applications and reactions to my disability.
My Navigator Developer and I talked through various options; she helped me to fill in lots of applications and although I had plenty of ideas about what I wanted to do, nothing really struck a chord. That was until Michaela at Forwards told me about the Strive Business Course, hosted by Cheltenham Borough Homes. Starting my own business sounded appealing but also hard work. I have found that course tutors can also be unwilling to meet my access needs and was therefore anxious about getting in touch with the Strive team.
However, they couldn't have been more welcoming. On my first day, they emphasised that the course was flexible and would work around us. They taught me everything I needed to know and encouraged me along the way. 
My business is now getting off the ground and eye4Detail now has a website. I provide English tuition and offer a service to proof read documents for those who struggle to get their wording right. I use my passion for public speaking in the inclusion consultancy aspect of my work, collaborating with individuals and organisations to support them in becoming more accessible for all."


Gloucester | PATA

Prior to having children, GEM worked full time but had to give up work to look after her daughter due to the cost of childcare. As time passed, she was ready to get back into work but didn’t know where to turn.

“With being dyslexic I’ve often found it hard to do things, I felt it held me back. I tried to return to work to fit in with school hours, but nothing seemed to work. My friend told me about the GEM Project and how it could help me get a job.”

During her time on the GEM Project she completed various courses linked to working with children, a passion she was keen to pursue.
She was particularly interested in working with children with disabilities. Her Navigator Developer helped her to find some evening or online courses to complete, as well as some specialist short courses about Special Educational Needs and Disability to help avoid any childcare issues or impede on her learning. She also completed a Paediatric First Aid course and learnt Makaton to help develop her skillset. This then led to a volunteering opportunity in a special school for children with disabilities and the chance to further her qualifications.

“Now thanks to GEM I have a volunteering placement at a local school and am working towards my NVQ L2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools including a specific module focusing on SEND. Mary has really supported me and gave me the push I needed – I’d definitely recommend it to people in a similar situation to me!”


Gloucester | CCP

Before joining the GEM Project Honor was struggling to pay her rent. With two children and being a single Mum, she needed to find a job to suit school and childcare hours.

After a meeting with the Housing Association, she was put in touch with Navigator Developer Paul at CCP to help her find a suitable role.

Paul and Honor worked on her CV and looked together for different roles to apply for. An admin-based position came up at CCP which Honor applied for and is now working for CCP in their Cheltenham office, helping VCSE’s share their knowledge.

"I’m now no longer in rent arrears and have a role that I enjoy which fits in with school hours too. The GEM Project even helped me with childcare costs whilst I was on the project which was so helpful.

I’d definitely recommend the project to anyone even if you just need some extra help with your CV."

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